Find and work those muscles!
You may have heard about Kegel exercises. But just squeezing occasionally as you wait at the traffic lights isn’t enough to really banish symptoms and give your pelvic floor some TLC. There is a ‘release’ phase which is also vital, a breathing connection to understand, as well as understanding how to actually apply those squeezes to your everyday life and movements. Here’s how:
Step 1Inhale and let your stomach muscles and pelvic floor relax. Let it all go. This part is really important. Your muscles can’t work properly if they’re ‘switched on’ all the time
Step 2Next, exhale as you lift and gently squeeze your pelvic floor. To find the right muscles, imagine you’re trying not to fart (engaging the back passage muscles is a great way to ‘find’ your pelvic floor – they’re all connected!), or drawing a tampon further up inside your vagina. Imagine picking up a grape with your vaginal lips, or that your vagina is a straw and you’re sucking a smoothie through it… all slightly weird, all effective ;-) Nothing forceful. It is a gentle squeeze and lift.
Step 3Then breathe in and fully relax and release those muscles, being careful not to push down or away. Again, this isn’t a forceful movement, just release and fully let go
Step 4Repeat 5 times, in time with your own breath, always relaxing and releasing on the inhale, drawing upwards and gently squeezing on the exhale. Do these 5 breaths at least couple of times a day, every day
Step 5You can now engage and release your pelvic floor properly. So the next step is to apply your new skill to everyday life! Whenever you pick up a heavy load (like a child or car seat for eg), prepare, inhale and release first, then engage and exhale as you lift to protect your pelvic floor and core.